Torrance Nursing Facility Sued for Negligence After Patient Escapes
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Del Amo Gardens Convalescent Hospital, located in Torrance, California. The lawsuit alleges that the facility neglected one of its patients, Faalafua Tuiloma, who wandered away from the facility and was found three days later in Cerritos, California.
“The facility and its administrators had no intention of providing Faalafua with the care and supervision they described,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “They made promises based on the sole purpose of increasing the headcount of paying residents.”
Mr. Tuiloma was admitted to the facility on February 7, 2016. Prior to being admitted, he was known to suffer from severe dementia and recurrent pneumonia. Mr. Tuiloma was also on medications that caused him to be chronically disoriented, and therefore a high risk for elopement. His overall condition caused him to be feeble and weak, which also rendered him a high risk for falls. Additionally, Mr. Tuiloma required a wheelchair and a walker when ambulating.
Mr. Tuiloma’s family explicitly warned the facility’s administrators and staff that, in addition to what was shown in his medical documentation, there were also well-founded concerns relating to his likelihood of falling and eloping. His family explained that when he was living at home, he would frequently wander from their care and go missing for extended periods of time. Therefore, they entrusted him to the facility with the expectation that he would be consistently monitored and supervised. The facility’s administrators ensured Mr. Tuiloma’s family that he would receive 24/7 supervision as well as a one-on-one sitter who would watch him constantly.
The facility was well aware of Mr. Tuiloma’s propensity to wander; however, instead of implementing measures to ensure he was supervised as frequently as necessary to prevent injuries, the staff simply ignored him. Throughout his stay at the facility, when Mr. Tuiloma was left unattended he would regularly get out of bed and also his wheelchair and wander off.
On February 14, 2016, Mr. Tuiloma escaped from the facility. At 5 pm that day, a staff member called to inform his family that Mr. Tuiloma had disappeared from the facility and they didn’t know where he was. The facility’s lack of attention continued unabated even after they learned he was missing; they simply declined to expend any effort to locate Mr. Tuiloma. As a result, his family had to engage in their own search for his whereabouts, which continued for three days.
On February 17, 2016, the police finally located Mr. Tuiloma in Cerritos, where he had evidently walked to. He still had an IV in his arm and was found face down, lying on the side of the road after he had fallen. He was taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for pneumonia and an irregular heartbeat as well as dehydration and septic shock.
“The facility knew that they lacked insufficient staff, both in training and in quantity, yet still accepted responsibility for Faalafua,” Mr. Garcia added. “They endangered his health and safety by neglecting his known needs.”